One potentially serious incident involved a mother and four children who were rescued due to carbon monoxide poisoning after a blackout in Georges Hall. They had been using a petrol generator and been overcome by the fumes.
“When we got there, we had to go inside with breathing apparatus and gave them oxygen therapy,” a Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said.
“If a bit of equipment is designed to be used outside, don’t bring it inside. Even properly maintained equipment still produces carbon monoxide so make sure it’s used in a well-ventilated area.”
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York urged the community to be patient as the SES, which had deployed more than 1500 volunteers over the past few days, helped as many people as possible including more than 200 flood rescues.
On Monday afternoon, nearly 80,000 homes were still without power as Ausgrid crews continued to deal with 3100 hazards including fallen powerlines, trees and damaged wires.
Despite crews working around the clock and calling in additional resources from across the state, the company warned thousands of residents should prepare for several more days without power.
“You just don’t know how extensive the repairs are, each job is different,” said Ausgrid spokesman Shaun Fewings.
“That’s why we’ve told people to prepare to be out for a few days. It’s not as straightforward as turning up and flicking a switch.”
Mr Fewings said upcoming storms would hamper repair efforts and possibly create additional outages during the week.
“We’ve done a great job – 61,000 homes have power back since the height of the outage last night, but there’s still plenty to be done.”
Endeavour, which provides power to Greater Western Sydney, Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands areas, had 82,000 people off the grid at the peak of the storms on Sunday night. That number is expected to fall to 6000 by Tuesday morning.
A spokesperson for Endeavour said, “fresh crews from the Illawarra and South Coast will move into Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains early tomorrow morning to help local crews restore power to the remaining 5000 homes without power for a second night.”
Throughout Sunday night and Monday morning, 1500 homes were evacuated. Most people were able to return home by Monday night.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian praised the work of emergency service workers after a “torrid couple of days”.
She said that while there were “always concerns” about contaminants in dams, she was confident that appropriate measures had been taken to protect the purity of the state’s water supply.
She said it was too soon to think about changing the current water restriction levels.
“Our focus is on dealing with the extreme weather conditions at this stage,” she said.
When asked about the site of the Powerhouse Museum, the Premier repeated twice that there were no thoughts of reconsidering plans of the $1 billion project, despite the Parramatta River flooding into the carpark of the planned location on Monday.
“[T]hat site can withstand a one-in-100 flood event,” she said.
“There’s been enormous effort gone into making sure that site’s not just feasible but the best site for a museum.”
Ms Berejiklian said no additional money would be spent on the project as a result of Monday’s flooding.
Parramatta City councillor Donna Davis said the flooding was not unexpected and questioned the logic of building a museum in a vulnerable location.
“This is a site where frequent flooding is common and that will always experience the fastest flowing and deepest water,” councillor Davis said.
“Why would you house items of international and cultural significance on a site that is at such a high risk of flooding?”
Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said a number of local government areas were expected to be declared natural disaster areas on Tueday, which would allow for extra funding.
“The silver lining, of course, is the fact that we likely now might see the end of this six-month firefighting campaign,” Mr Elliott said.
“The RFS is hopeful that by the end of the week, the last of those fires will be extinguished.”
The rain has brought a sharp drop in active fires around the state with just 26 fires remaining. They are predominantly in the lower South Coast and Snowy Monaro regions.
Matt Bungard is a journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald.